Remember Manny being Manny? Specifically, Manny going into the Fenway Park scoreboard via the little door during the game? Fenway Park’s scoreboard is the only 100% manually operated scoreboard in baseball. That said, I had the opportunity to tour our out-of-town scoreboard in left field just after we took the lead in the 2nd inning of the July 3rd Pirate’s game. Meet my tour guides, Dan—the official scorekeeper—and Deanna from Guest Services.
First impressions: It is Collesium-esc. Vintage? That’s probably a nice way of saying it. It’s dusty—which actually makes for a neat effect as the sun streams through the slats. It was comfortable at only 72 degrees. A blazing day heats up those metal plates. Not to worry; the A’s provide a fan...Sort of...I feel for Dan.
Dan keeps everything very organized, future number plates lined and ready below or above the game’s inning and scores. The games are in order of their start time, right-to-left behind the scoreboard and left-to-right from the green seats. There are various "cheat sheets" (painted, taped, etc.) that show the name of the team (small, white letters), inning number, and what team is home and away (taped printouts).
Dan utilizes several devices, viewing games on two screens and using the MLB At-Bat App on his iPhone. And while I walked in assuming it would be a relatively easy job, I have new respect. Refreshing every 30 seconds and trying to update the board at the pace of the apps in the stands is critical. Think about it; maybe people will put their phone’s away and just rely on Dan, protecting themselves by being heads-up during the game. There’s a thought.
How to visit: First, you need the Ballpark App. If you don’t have it yet, get it. It keeps track of your games via your ‘check ins’ and you can add photos from the day. It’s a fun memory book. Sign up for Athletics Alerts and they will "bing" you before every game when "upgrades" are available. For example, Friday night I upgraded my bleacher seat to row 23 behind home plate for only $13.20, less than the regular purchase price for that section. Other upgrades include special fan experiences. This one is "Operate the Scoreboard in Left Field for 2—$39." Other options include riding in Stomper’s car, pre-game photo opportunity on the field, and more. You can purchase these directly on your phone, and you take the phone as your ticket. Easy. And, it all goes to the A’s Community Fund—good stuff. And, while we don’t have the longest history in Oakland, it is fun to see things like Miguel Tejada’s signature (or even Ron Gant’s in his last year in baseball) tucked in a corner you’ve never seen before.
And, for those of us who have been A’s fans since birth (and were even lucky enough like me to see a game in 1968 when the collesium opened), it’s pretty cool to see a view you’ve never had before.
So thanks, Dan and Deanna, for a special experience!